BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Saint Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli spoke of being here for “rings and nets.” His Hawks are a game closer to the goal after defeating St. Bonaventure 67-48 in the first semifinal at the Barclays Center on Saturday.
Possessions: St. Bonaventure 67, Saint Joseph’s 66
Offensive Efficiency: St. Bonaventure 72, Saint Joseph’s 102
The score was tied at the half at 29. The final 20 minutes saw the Bonnies shoot 4 of 24 (17 percent) from he floor. Their efficiency was 59, in contrast to 123 of the Hawks. “I thought our defense was not that bad but the offense was really poor,” said Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt. “This season, when we struggled, it was due to defense. Our offense has been good.”
Both Martelli and Schmidt pointed out that it was the Bonnies’ third game in three days. They jumped out to an early nine-point lead but could not sustain the level of play. “Credit Saint Joe’s,” Schmidt said. “They defended and had a lot to do with our struggles on offense.”
The Bonnies keyed on Langston Galloway of the Hawks. He scored two the first half. Stepping up in his place was Halil Kanacevic, as the senior forward finished with a game-high 26 points and 17 rebounds. Galloway heated up in the final 20 minutes to finish with 18.
DeAndre Bembry was a major factor in Martelli’s opinion. “He played like a freshman on offense and a 10-year veteran on defense.” The 6-6 first-year man shot 1-7 and committed five turnovers. He did a great job on Matthew Wright of Bonaventure, limiting the senior guard to six points on 1-9 shooting. Charlon Kloof was the lone Bonnie in double figures with 10 points.
The Hawks are 23-9 advancing to the conference championship on Sunday. The Bonnies fell to 18-15 and are hopeful for postseason. “We talk about over achieving,” Schmidt said. “Given we were picked at the bottom or near the bottom of the league in preseason, I would say this group, to their credit, overachieved.”